Suppliers welcome passing of grocery bill

Suppliers welcome passing of grocery bill

The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council welcomes the passing of the Grocery Industry Competition Bill in Parliament last night.

The bill will address a wide range of much-needed changes in the sector, says Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley.

“This is a giant step toward a better and fairer grocery sector, and that will benefit both consumers and suppliers.

“We are delighted the key elements of the bill, concerning the formation of a Grocery Commissioner inside the Commerce Commission and the Grocery Supply Code, have passed unchanged. Together, these will make a meaningful difference to competition and behaviour across the sector.

“Both supermarket chains have already opened up their wholesale operations to independent retailers after the Government made it clear this needed to happen ahead of the legislation.

“It’s premature for anyone to be complaining the market study and resulting Government reforms haven’t had an effect yet when the legislation has only just been passed. It’s a bit like saying the All Blacks have lost before they’ve even arrived in France.”

Raewyn Bleakley says NZFGC is particularly pleased the key recommendations around the grocery supply code have been retained.

These include:

  • Having the Minister consult the industry before recommending a code.
  • The Commerce Commission to administer the code in the long-term, but the Minister to develop the first version so it is “introduced expeditiously”.
  • Ensuring the code captures all the related parties of a regulated grocery retailer.
  • The Commission to review and report on the code at least every five years after the initial review.

“Enabling the Minister to move fast on getting the code in place is vital, and the industry is ready to help make that happen as soon as possible.

“It’s great also to see the select committee’s recommendations around a dispute resolution scheme have been retained, particularly that it covers a diverse range of suppliers, no matter their size, and that disputes must be resolved with 25 working days. These and other moves in the bill will put a lot of supplier minds at rest and give them the confidence to go about their daily work knowing they are operating in a competitive yet fair environment.

“We are now eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Grocery Commissioner and we’ll be working very hard to make all these new measures as effective as possible so our members – the suppliers and manufacturers – have confidence and can work well with the retailers to together deliver consumers optimum choice and price.”

Read the bill here

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